DICT eyeing to hold bidding for 3rd telco player in October

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may conduct the bidding for the new major player in the telco industry as early as October this year.

DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. speaking during the public hearing

The agency said it is trying hard to comply with its target to select the third telco player by yearend.

DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said some companies that have expressed to participate in the selection process have expressed their preference that the bidding be held in October.

“Some of those who participated are asking for six months for the bidding to start. Others prefer that the bidding to start in October are the ones who did their homework before and have conducted their due diligence,” Rio said in an interview with reporters during the public hearing on the draft terms of reference on the entry of the third telco player held Thursday, Aug. 23, in Quezon City.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has set a timeline on the bidding process to start one to two months within publication of the final memorandum circular on the new major telco player.

Rio likewise said the DICT will be adopting the inputs of the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on the guidelines in order to hasten the selection process for the third telco player.

The PCC has proposed that the new major player should not be a related party to any dominant telcos in the industry.

The participant must also return their assigned frequencies to the NTC in the event that it becomes a related party to PLDT and Globe.

Furthermore, a participant that fails to use any radio frequency spectrums assigned to it beyond the timeframe of their rollout plans shall return these to the government.

The DICT aims to select a telco firm that can deliver the highest quality of service at affordable costs to consumers to compete with the existing duopoly.

According to its guidelines, a bidder should have a paid-up capital of at least P10 billion and must have an experience in the delivery and operations of telco services for the last 10 years nationwide.

A participant must offer at least a coverage of at least 50 percent of the national population, average broadband speed of 5 megabits per second annual capital expenditure of P40 billion over a 5-year commitment period.

Among the companies that have expressed their intent to bid as a third telco player are PT&T, Now Corporation, Converge ICT, TransPacific Broadband Group, and Easy Call Communications Philippines.

Some of the foreign investors that expressed interest are China Telecom, Surya Telecom of India, LG Uplus Corp. of South Korea, KDDI Corporation of Japan, and Viettel Group of Vietnam. -– Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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